This is the year. The time has come. You are ready to roll out your new program.
You have dabbled in a choice-based approach to classroom practices and sensed the excitement from your students. Maybe you have aligned your instruction and assessment with Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, personality types (check out this example), brain-based learning, offered learning centers, self-paced through flipped learning with video instruction, developed your own eLearning courses, or supplemented with differentiated EdTech programs, the list could go on.
The changes you have implemented have increased engagement so much that you no longer need any “early finisher” activities, which in some cases, felt more like busy work than enrichment. You know in your heart and can feel it in your bones that there’s no looking back to the traditional teacher-driven approach which included lectures, mostly direct instruction, using strategies your teachers used when you were a student, and your way is the only way.
Your excitement about learner-centered education has you envisioning yourself shouting from the rooftops just how awesome it is for everyone.
Despite that excitement, you have this little voice in the back of your mind taunting you to prove yourself and your new program. How will you do this? Will your administration accept your newfound approach? Will your colleagues approve of the array of different projects that you will display on the bulletin boards? What will people think when you go against the grain and try something new to them? What if there’s push back?
One phrase comes to mind: Elevator Speech
An elevator speech or pitch is short and sweet, to the point, and gives your listener digestible information that is easy to understand and envision in their minds.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to craft your own:
With anything new, hook your audience and grab their attention, so that they are engaged and wanting to hear more. When considering your hook, brainstorm all of the goodness that has resulted from your new program, strategy, or approach. Reflect upon your “why” and leverage that as you initiate conversation. Highlight this first.
Once your audience’s eyes have lit up with interest, you will seamlessly transition into the pithy part of your speech. During this stage, you express exactly what needs to be said in the most direct, concise, and meaningful way. Be mindful, that even though the pithy description should be kept brief, it must contain a substantial amount of information that your audience can easily understand, and again, wanting to learn more.
Wrap It Up
The final stage of your speech drives home your point in one or two statements. Revisit your “why,” keeping it positive and to the point. Relate to your audience, giving them a reason to try this big idea in their classroom, too. Offer to help get them started with small steps.
When you begin developing your elevator speech, take time to write it down first. If scripting and rehearsing it helps you feel comfortable and confident to say it aloud to others, then do that. Find a mirror or record yourself with your phone. Listen to yourself, your words, and revise.
Before we part ways this week, I have one word of advice for you: Trust.
Remember to trust in yourself when you craft your elevator speech.
You have explored and learned something that transformed your perspective of education.
You experienced the impact on teaching and learning.
You have received positive feedback and observed increased engagement from your learners.
You have continued to reflect and revise, responding to the needs of your learners and of this new program.
You want to help others learn how to implement something similar in their own classroom, too.
You can do this.